Recycled toilet paper. Organic canned tomatoes. Reusable grocery bags. In this era when everything and everyone seems to be “going green,” we asked Thomas Bornemann, managing partner of the consumer products practice at Clarkston Consulting, to shed some light on the major sustainability issues facing consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. According to Bornemann, becoming a Sustainable Enterprise is not only the right thing to do, it presents significant bottom line benefits—and could even make the difference between success and obsolescence.
What’s the Difference?
It seems that just about every organization or product claims to be green. Clarkston explains the difference between being “green” and what we call being a sustainable enterprise.
Unlike a green product or program, becoming a Sustainable Enterprise is not something that can be achieved through one initiative, nor is it a project that you do. Rather, it is a state of being— a different way of thinking altogether. A Sustainable Enterprise manages its business in such a way that it has an overall positive affect on society by demonstrating economic, environmental and social responsibility. Sustainability becomes part of the company’s DNA in such a way that every decision is made within the context of whether or not it supports or detracts from the company’s sustainability vision. More importantly, a company truly becomes a Sustainable Enterprise when its sustainability vision is aligned with its business goals. This more advanced view of sustainability requires a clear strategy from the top, as well as wholesale changes to everything from the way a company thinks, to its processes and systems, to the products it produces.
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